US10299061B1 - Playback device calibration - Google Patents

Playback device calibration Download PDF

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US10299061B1
US10299061B1 US16/115,524 US201816115524A US10299061B1 US 10299061 B1 US10299061 B1 US 10299061B1 US 201816115524 A US201816115524 A US 201816115524A US 10299061 B1 US10299061 B1 US 10299061B1
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playback device
room
respective
audio
response
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Timothy Sheen
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Sonos Inc
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Sonos Inc
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04SSTEREOPHONIC SYSTEMS 
    • H04S7/00Indicating arrangements; Control arrangements, e.g. balance control
    • H04S7/30Control circuits for electronic adaptation of the sound field
    • H04S7/301Automatic calibration of stereophonic sound system, e.g. with test microphone
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06FELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
    • G06F3/00Input arrangements for transferring data to be processed into a form capable of being handled by the computer; Output arrangements for transferring data from processing unit to output unit, e.g. interface arrangements
    • G06F3/16Sound input; Sound output
    • G06F3/165Management of the audio stream, e.g. setting of volume, audio stream path
    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10KSOUND-PRODUCING DEVICES; METHODS OR DEVICES FOR PROTECTING AGAINST, OR FOR DAMPING, NOISE OR OTHER ACOUSTIC WAVES IN GENERAL; ACOUSTICS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G10K11/00Methods or devices for transmitting, conducting or directing sound in general; Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general
    • G10K11/16Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general
    • G10K11/175Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general using interference effects; Masking sound
    • G10K11/178Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general using interference effects; Masking sound by electro-acoustically regenerating the original acoustic waves in anti-phase
    • G10K11/1781Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general using interference effects; Masking sound by electro-acoustically regenerating the original acoustic waves in anti-phase characterised by the analysis of input or output signals, e.g. frequency range, modes, transfer functions
    • G10K11/17821Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general using interference effects; Masking sound by electro-acoustically regenerating the original acoustic waves in anti-phase characterised by the analysis of input or output signals, e.g. frequency range, modes, transfer functions characterised by the analysis of the input signals only
    • G10K11/17823Reference signals, e.g. ambient acoustic environment
    • GPHYSICS
    • G10MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS; ACOUSTICS
    • G10KSOUND-PRODUCING DEVICES; METHODS OR DEVICES FOR PROTECTING AGAINST, OR FOR DAMPING, NOISE OR OTHER ACOUSTIC WAVES IN GENERAL; ACOUSTICS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G10K11/00Methods or devices for transmitting, conducting or directing sound in general; Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general
    • G10K11/16Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general
    • G10K11/175Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general using interference effects; Masking sound
    • G10K11/178Methods or devices for protecting against, or for damping, noise or other acoustic waves in general using interference effects; Masking sound by electro-acoustically regenerating the original acoustic waves in anti-phase
    • G10K11/1787General system configurations
    • G10K11/17879General system configurations using both a reference signal and an error signal
    • G10K11/17881General system configurations using both a reference signal and an error signal the reference signal being an acoustic signal, e.g. recorded with a microphone
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04RLOUDSPEAKERS, MICROPHONES, GRAMOPHONE PICK-UPS OR LIKE ACOUSTIC ELECTROMECHANICAL TRANSDUCERS; DEAF-AID SETS; PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEMS
    • H04R2227/00Details of public address [PA] systems covered by H04R27/00 but not provided for in any of its subgroups
    • H04R2227/007Electronic adaptation of audio signals to reverberation of the listening space for PA
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04SSTEREOPHONIC SYSTEMS 
    • H04S2400/00Details of stereophonic systems covered by H04S but not provided for in its groups
    • H04S2400/13Aspects of volume control, not necessarily automatic, in stereophonic sound systems
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04SSTEREOPHONIC SYSTEMS 
    • H04S7/00Indicating arrangements; Control arrangements, e.g. balance control
    • H04S7/30Control circuits for electronic adaptation of the sound field
    • H04S7/305Electronic adaptation of stereophonic audio signals to reverberation of the listening space

Abstract

Systems and methods for calibrating a playback device include (i) outputting first audio content; (ii) capturing audio data representing reflections of the first audio content within a room in which the playback device is located; (iii) based on the captured audio data, determining an acoustic response of the room; (iv) connecting to a database comprising a plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings, each set associated with a respective stored acoustic room response of a plurality of stored acoustic room responses; (v) querying the database for a stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located; and (vi) applying to the playback device a particular set of stored audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.

Description

FIELD OF THE DISCLOSURE

The present disclosure is related to consumer goods and, more particularly, to methods, systems, products, features, services, and other elements directed to media playback or some aspect thereof.

BACKGROUND

Options for accessing and listening to digital audio in an out-loud setting were limited until in 2002, when SONOS, Inc. began development of a new type of playback system. Sonos then filed one of its first patent applications in 2003, entitled “Method for Synchronizing Audio Playback between Multiple Networked Devices,” and began offering its first media playback systems for sale in 2005. The Sonos Wireless Home Sound System enables people to experience music from many sources via one or more networked playback devices. Through a software control application installed on a controller (e.g., smartphone, tablet, computer, voice input device), one can play what she wants in any room having a networked playback device. Media content (e.g., songs, podcasts, video sound) can be streamed to playback devices such that each room with a playback device can play back corresponding different media content. In addition, rooms can be grouped together for synchronous playback of the same media content, and/or the same media content can be heard in all rooms synchronously.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Features, aspects, and advantages of the presently disclosed technology may be better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings, as listed below. A person skilled in the relevant art will understand that the features shown in the drawings are for purposes of illustrations, and variations, including different and/or additional features and arrangements thereof, are possible.

FIG. 1A is a partial cutaway view of an environment having a media playback system configured in accordance with aspects of the disclosed technology.

FIG. 1B is a schematic diagram of the media playback system of FIG. 1A and one or more networks.

FIG. 1C is a block diagram of a playback device.

FIG. 1D is a block diagram of a playback device.

FIG. 1E is a block diagram of a network microphone device.

FIG. 1F is a block diagram of a network microphone device.

FIG. 1G is a block diagram of a playback device.

FIG. 1H is a partially schematic diagram of a control device.

FIG. 2A is a diagram of a playback environment within which a playback device may be calibrated.

FIG. 2B is a block diagram of a database for storing room response data and corresponding playback device calibration settings.

FIG. 2C is a diagram of a playback environment within which a playback device may be calibrated.

FIG. 3A is a flowchart of a method for populating a database with room response data and corresponding playback device calibration settings.

FIG. 3B is a flowchart of a method for calibrating a playback device using a database populated with room response data and corresponding playback device calibration settings.

The drawings are for the purpose of illustrating example embodiments, but those of ordinary skill in the art will understand that the technology disclosed herein is not limited to the arrangements and/or instrumentality shown in the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION I. Overview

Any environment has certain acoustic characteristics (“acoustics”) that define how sound travels within that environment. For instance, with a room, the size and shape of the room, as well as objects inside that room, may define the acoustics for that room. For example, angles of walls with respect to a ceiling affect how sound reflects off the wall and the ceiling. As another example, furniture positioning in the room affects how the sound travels in the room. Various types of surfaces within the room may also affect the acoustics of that room; hard surfaces in the room may reflect sound, whereas soft surfaces may absorb sound. Accordingly, calibrating a playback device within a room so that the audio output by the playback device accounts for (e.g., offsets) the acoustics of that room may improve a listening experience in the room.

U.S. Pat. No. 9,706,323 entitled, “Playback Device Calibration,” and U.S. Pat. No. 9,763,018 entitled, “Calibration of Audio Playback Devices,” which are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety, provide examples of calibrating playback devices to account for the acoustics of a room.

An example calibration process for a media playback system involves a playback device outputting audio content while in a given environment (e.g., a room). The audio content may have predefined spectral content, such as a pink noise, a sweep, or a combination of content. Then, one or more microphone devices detect the outputted audio content at one or more different spatial positions in the room to facilitate determining an acoustic response of the room (also referred to herein as a “room response”).

For example, a mobile device with a microphone, such as a smartphone or tablet (referred to herein as a network device) may be moved to the various locations in the room to detect the audio content. These locations may correspond to those locations where one or more listeners may experience audio playback during regular use (i.e., listening) of the playback device. In this regard, the calibration process involves a user physically moving the network device to various locations in the room to detect the audio content at one or more spatial positions in the room. Given that this acoustic response involves moving the microphone to multiple locations throughout the room, this acoustic response may also be referred to as a “multi-location acoustic response.”

Based on a multi-location acoustic response, the media playback system may identify an audio processing algorithm. For instance, a network device may identify an audio processing algorithm, and transmit to the playback device, data indicating the identified audio processing algorithm. In some examples, the network device identifies an audio processing algorithm that, when applied to the playback device, results in audio content output by the playback device having a target audio characteristic, such as a target frequency response at one or more locations in the room. The network device can identify the audio processing algorithm in various ways. In one case, the network device determines the audio processing algorithm based on the data indicating the detected audio content. In another case, the network device sends, to a computing device such as a server, data indicating the audio content detected at the various locations in the room, and receives, from the computing device, the audio processing algorithm after the server (or another computing device connected to the server) has determined the audio processing algorithm.

In some circumstances, performing a calibration process such as the one described above is not feasible or practical. For example, a listener might not have access to a network device that is capable of or configured for performing such a calibration process. As another example, a listener may choose not to calibrate the playback device because of they find the process of moving the microphone around the room inconvenient or otherwise burdensome.

Disclosed herein are systems and methods to help address these or other issues. In particular, a playback device in an environment is configured to calibrate itself with respect to the environment without using a network device to detect audio content at various locations in the room. To do so, the playback device leverages a database of calibration settings (e.g., audio processing algorithms) that have been generated for other playback devices using a calibration process, such as the process described above. Given a sufficiently large database of calibration settings, the database becomes statistically capable of providing a set of calibration settings that are appropriate for calibrating the playback device to account for the acoustic response of its environment.

In practice, such a database is populated with calibration settings by various playback devices performing a calibration process similar to the process described above. Namely, the database is populated by performing a calibration process for each playback device of a number of playback devices that involves each playback device outputting audio content in a room, moving a network device to various locations in the room to determine a multi-location acoustic response of the room, and determining the calibration settings based on the room's multi-location acoustic response. This process is repeated by a large number of users in a larger number of different rooms, thereby providing a statistically sufficient volume of different room responses and corresponding calibration settings.

Further, a playback device may include its own microphone, which the playback device uses to determine an acoustic response of the room different from the multi-location acoustic response of the room. While the playback device outputs audio content for determining the multi-location acoustic response of the room as described above, the playback device concurrently uses its own microphone to detect reflections of the audio content within the room and determines a different acoustic response of the room based on the detected reflections (as compared with the acoustic response determined based on the reflections detected by a network device). This acoustic response determined by the playback device may be referred to as a “localized acoustic response,” as the acoustic response is determined based on captured audio localized at the playback device, rather than at multiple locations throughout the room via the microphone of the network device. Data representing the localized acoustic response and data representing the calibration settings are then stored in the database and associated with one another. As a result, the database is populated with a number of records, each record corresponding to a respective playback device, and each record including data representing the respective playback device's localized acoustic response and the respective playback device's calibration settings for the localized acoustic response.

Once the database is populated, media playback systems can access the database to determine suitable calibration settings without requiring the use of a network device to first determine a multi-location acoustic response for a room in which the playback device(s) of that system are located. For instance, the playback device determines a localized acoustic response for the room by outputting audio content in the room and using a microphone of the playback device to detect reflections of the audio content within the room. The playback device then queries the database to identify a stored localized acoustic response that is substantially similar to, or that is most similar to, the localized acoustic response determined by the playback device. The playback device then applies to itself the identified calibration settings that are associated in the database with the identified localized acoustic response.

The above playback device calibration process may be initiated at various times and/or in various ways. In some examples, calibration of the playback device is initiated when the playback device is being set up for the first time, when the playback device plays music for the first time, or if the playback device has been moved to a new location. For instance, if the playback device is moved to a new location, calibration of the playback device may be initiated based on a detection of the movement or based on a user input indicating that the playback device has moved to a new location. In some examples, calibration of the playback device is initiated on demand via a controller device. Further, in some examples, calibration of the playback device is initiated periodically, or after a threshold amount of time has elapsed after a previous calibration, in order to account for changes to the environment of the playback device and/or changes to the database of calibration settings.

Accordingly, in some implementations, for example, a playback device outputs first audio content via one or more speakers of the playback device, and the playback device captures audio data representing reflections of the first audio content within a room in which the playback device is located via one or more microphones of the playback device. Based on the captured audio data, the playback device determines an acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located. Further, the playback device establishes a connection with a database populated with a plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings, each set associated with a respective stored acoustic room response of a plurality of stored acoustic room responses. The plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings are determined based on multiple media playback systems each performing a respective audio calibration process, which includes (i) outputting, via a respective playback device within a respective room that is different from the room in which the playback device is located, respective audio content, (ii) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone of a respective network device in communication with the respective playback device, first respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room while the respective network device is moving from a first physical location to a second physical location within the respective room, and (iii) based on the first respective audio data, determining a set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device. Additionally, the plurality of stored acoustic room responses are determined based on the multiple media playback systems each performing a respective acoustic room response determination process, which includes (i) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone disposed in a housing of the respective playback device, second respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room, and (ii) based on the second respective audio data, determining an acoustic response of the respective room. Once the playback device has established a connection with the database, the playback device queries the database for a stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located. Responsive to the query, the playback device applies to itself a particular set of stored audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located. The playback device then outputs, via one or more of its speakers, second audio content using the particular set of audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.

While some examples described herein may refer to functions performed by given actors such as “users,” “listeners,” and/or other entities, it should be understood that this is for purposes of explanation only. The claims should not be interpreted to require action by any such example actor unless explicitly required by the language of the claims themselves.

In the Figures, identical reference numbers identify generally similar, and/or identical, elements. To facilitate the discussion of any particular element, the most significant digit or digits of a reference number refers to the Figure in which that element is first introduced. For example, element 110 a is first introduced and discussed with reference to FIG. 1A. Many of the details, dimensions, angles and other features shown in the Figures are merely illustrative of particular embodiments of the disclosed technology. Accordingly, other embodiments can have other details, dimensions, angles and features without departing from the spirit or scope of the disclosure. In addition, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that further embodiments of the various disclosed technologies can be practiced without several of the details described below.

II. Suitable Operating Environment

FIG. 1A is a partial cutaway view of a media playback system 100 distributed in an environment 101 (e.g., a house). The media playback system 100 comprises one or more playback devices 110 (identified individually as playback devices 110 a-n), one or more network microphone devices (“NMDs”) 120 (identified individually as NMDs 120 a-c), and one or more control devices 130 (identified individually as control devices 130 a and 130 b).

As used herein the term “playback device” can generally refer to a network device configured to receive, process, and output data of a media playback system. For example, a playback device can be a network device that receives and processes audio content. In some embodiments, a playback device includes one or more transducers or speakers powered by one or more amplifiers. In other embodiments, however, a playback device includes one of (or neither of) the speaker and the amplifier. For instance, a playback device can comprise one or more amplifiers configured to drive one or more speakers external to the playback device via a corresponding wire or cable.

Moreover, as used herein the term NMD (i.e., a “network microphone device”) can generally refer to a network device that is configured for audio detection. In some embodiments, an NMD is a stand-alone device configured primarily for audio detection. In other embodiments, an NMD is incorporated into a playback device (or vice versa).

The term “control device” can generally refer to a network device configured to perform functions relevant to facilitating user access, control, and/or configuration of the media playback system 100.

Each of the playback devices 110 is configured to receive audio signals or data from one or more media sources (e.g., one or more remote servers, one or more local devices) and play back the received audio signals or data as sound. The one or more NMDs 120 are configured to receive spoken word commands, and the one or more control devices 130 are configured to receive user input. In response to the received spoken word commands and/or user input, the media playback system 100 can play back audio via one or more of the playback devices 110. In certain embodiments, the playback devices 110 are configured to commence playback of media content in response to a trigger. For instance, one or more of the playback devices 110 can be configured to play back a morning playlist upon detection of an associated trigger condition (e.g., presence of a user in a kitchen, detection of a coffee machine operation). In some embodiments, for example, the media playback system 100 is configured to play back audio from a first playback device (e.g., the playback device 100 a) in synchrony with a second playback device (e.g., the playback device 100 b). Interactions between the playback devices 110, NMDs 120, and/or control devices 130 of the media playback system 100 configured in accordance with the various embodiments of the disclosure are described in greater detail below with respect to FIGS. 1B-1H.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1A, the environment 101 comprises a household having several rooms, spaces, and/or playback zones, including (clockwise from upper left) a master bathroom 101 a, a master bedroom 101 b, a second bedroom 101 c, a family room or den 101 d, an office 101 e, a living room 101 f, a dining room 101 g, a kitchen 101 h, and an outdoor patio 101 i. While certain embodiments and examples are described below in the context of a home environment, the technologies described herein may be implemented in other types of environments. In some embodiments, for example, the media playback system 100 can be implemented in one or more commercial settings (e.g., a restaurant, mall, airport, hotel, a retail or other store), one or more vehicles (e.g., a sports utility vehicle, bus, car, a ship, a boat, an airplane), multiple environments (e.g., a combination of home and vehicle environments), and/or another suitable environment where multi-zone audio may be desirable.

The media playback system 100 can comprise one or more playback zones, some of which may correspond to the rooms in the environment 101. The media playback system 100 can be established with one or more playback zones, after which additional zones may be added, or removed to form, for example, the configuration shown in FIG. 1A. Each zone may be given a name according to a different room or space such as the office 101 e, master bathroom 101 a, master bedroom 101 b, the second bedroom 101 c, kitchen 101 h, dining room 101 g, living room 101 f, and/or the balcony 101 i. In some aspects, a single playback zone may include multiple rooms or spaces. In certain aspects, a single room or space may include multiple playback zones.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1A, the master bathroom 101 a, the second bedroom 101 c, the office 101 e, the living room 101 f, the dining room 101 g, the kitchen 101 h, and the outdoor patio 101 i each include one playback device 110, and the master bedroom 101 b and the den 101 d include a plurality of playback devices 110. In the master bedroom 101 b, the playback devices 110 l and 110 m may be configured, for example, to play back audio content in synchrony as individual ones of playback devices 110, as a bonded playback zone, as a consolidated playback device, and/or any combination thereof. Similarly, in the den 101 d, the playback devices 110 h-j can be configured, for instance, to play back audio content in synchrony as individual ones of playback devices 110, as one or more bonded playback devices, and/or as one or more consolidated playback devices. Additional details regarding bonded and consolidated playback devices are described below with respect to FIGS. 1B and 1E.

In some aspects, one or more of the playback zones in the environment 101 may each be playing different audio content. For instance, a user may be grilling on the patio 101 i and listening to hip hop music being played by the playback device 110 c while another user is preparing food in the kitchen 101 h and listening to classical music played by the playback device 110 b. In another example, a playback zone may play the same audio content in synchrony with another playback zone. For instance, the user may be in the office 101 e listening to the playback device 110 f playing back the same hip hop music being played back by playback device 110 c on the patio 101 i. In some aspects, the playback devices 110 c and 110 f play back the hip hop music in synchrony such that the user perceives that the audio content is being played seamlessly (or at least substantially seamlessly) while moving between different playback zones. Additional details regarding audio playback synchronization among playback devices and/or zones can be found, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 8,234,395 entitled, “System and method for synchronizing operations among a plurality of independently clocked digital data processing devices,” which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

a. Suitable Media Playback System

FIG. 1B is a schematic diagram of the media playback system 100 and a cloud network 102. For ease of illustration, certain devices of the media playback system 100 and the cloud network 102 are omitted from FIG. 1B. One or more communication links 103 (referred to hereinafter as “the links 103”) communicatively couple the media playback system 100 and the cloud network 102.

The links 103 can comprise, for example, one or more wired networks, one or more wireless networks, one or more wide area networks (WAN), one or more local area networks (LAN), one or more personal area networks (PAN), one or more telecommunication networks (e.g., one or more Global System for Mobiles (GSM) networks, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks, 5G communication network networks, and/or other suitable data transmission protocol networks), etc. The cloud network 102 is configured to deliver media content (e.g., audio content, video content, photographs, social media content) to the media playback system 100 in response to a request transmitted from the media playback system 100 via the links 103. In some embodiments, the cloud network 102 is further configured to receive data (e.g. voice input data) from the media playback system 100 and correspondingly transmit commands and/or media content to the media playback system 100.

The cloud network 102 comprises computing devices 106 (identified separately as a first computing device 106 a, a second computing device 106 b, and a third computing device 106 c). The computing devices 106 can comprise individual computers or servers, such as, for example, a media streaming service server storing audio and/or other media content, a voice service server, a social media server, a media playback system control server, etc. In some embodiments, one or more of the computing devices 106 comprise modules of a single computer or server. In certain embodiments, one or more of the computing devices 106 comprise one or more modules, computers, and/or servers. Moreover, while the cloud network 102 is described above in the context of a single cloud network, in some embodiments the cloud network 102 comprises a plurality of cloud networks comprising communicatively coupled computing devices. Furthermore, while the cloud network 102 is shown in FIG. 1B as having three of the computing devices 106, in some embodiments, the cloud network 102 comprises fewer (or more than) three computing devices 106.

The media playback system 100 is configured to receive media content from the networks 102 via the links 103. The received media content can comprise, for example, a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and/or a Uniform Resource Locator (URL). For instance, in some examples, the media playback system 100 can stream, download, or otherwise obtain data from a URI or a URL corresponding to the received media content. A network 104 communicatively couples the links 103 and at least a portion of the devices (e.g., one or more of the playback devices 110, NMDs 120, and/or control devices 130) of the media playback system 100. The network 104 can include, for example, a wireless network (e.g., a WiFi network, a Bluetooth, a Z-Wave network, a ZigBee, and/or other suitable wireless communication protocol network) and/or a wired network (e.g., a network comprising Ethernet, Universal Serial Bus (USB), and/or another suitable wired communication). As those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, as used herein, “WiFi” can refer to several different communication protocols including, for example, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, 802.11ac, 802.11ad, 802.11af, 802.11ah, 802.11ai, 802.11aj, 802.11aq, 802.11ax, 802.11ay, 802.15, etc. transmitted at 2.4 Gigahertz (GHz), 5 GHz, and/or another suitable frequency.

In some embodiments, the network 104 comprises a dedicated communication network that the media playback system 100 uses to transmit messages between individual devices and/or to transmit media content to and from media content sources (e.g., one or more of the computing devices 106). In certain embodiments, the network 104 is configured to be accessible only to devices in the media playback system 100, thereby reducing interference and competition with other household devices. In other embodiments, however, the network 104 comprises an existing household communication network (e.g., a household WiFi network). In some embodiments, the links 103 and the network 104 comprise one or more of the same networks. In some aspects, for example, the links 103 and the network 104 comprise a telecommunication network (e.g., an LTE network, a 5G network). Moreover, in some embodiments, the media playback system 100 is implemented without the network 104, and devices comprising the media playback system 100 can communicate with each other, for example, via one or more direct connections, PANs, telecommunication networks, and/or other suitable communication links.

In some embodiments, audio content sources may be regularly added or removed from the media playback system 100. In some embodiments, for example, the media playback system 100 performs an indexing of media items when one or more media content sources are updated, added to, and/or removed from the media playback system 100. The media playback system 100 can scan identifiable media items in some or all folders and/or directories accessible to the playback devices 110, and generate or update a media content database comprising metadata (e.g., title, artist, album, track length) and other associated information (e.g., URIs, URLs) for each identifiable media item found. In some embodiments, for example, the media content database is stored on one or more of the playback devices 110, network microphone devices 120, and/or control devices 130.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1B, the playback devices 110 l and 110 m comprise a group 107 a. The playback devices 110 l and 110 m can be positioned in different rooms in a household and be grouped together in the group 107 a on a temporary or permanent basis based on user input received at the control device 130 a and/or another control device 130 in the media playback system 100. When arranged in the group 107 a, the playback devices 110 l and 110 m can be configured to play back the same or similar audio content in synchrony from one or more audio content sources. In certain embodiments, for example, the group 107 a comprises a bonded zone in which the playback devices 110 l and 110 m comprise left audio and right audio channels, respectively, of multi-channel audio content, thereby producing or enhancing a stereo effect of the audio content. In some embodiments, the group 107 a includes additional playback devices 110. In other embodiments, however, the media playback system 100 omits the group 107 a and/or other grouped arrangements of the playback devices 110.

The media playback system 100 includes the NMDs 120 a and 120 d, each comprising one or more microphones configured to receive voice utterances from a user. In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1B, the NMD 120 a is a standalone device and the NMD 120 d is integrated into the playback device 110 n. The NMD 120 a, for example, is configured to receive voice input 121 from a user 123. In some embodiments, the NMD 120 a transmits data associated with the received voice input 121 to a voice assistant service (VAS) configured to (i) process the received voice input data and (ii) transmit a corresponding command to the media playback system 100. In some aspects, for example, the computing device 106 c comprises one or more modules and/or servers of a VAS (e.g., a VAS operated by one or more of SONOS®, AMAZON®, GOOGLE® APPLE®, MICROSOFT®). The computing device 106 c can receive the voice input data from the NMD 120 a via the network 104 and the links 103. In response to receiving the voice input data, the computing device 106 c processes the voice input data (i.e., “Play Hey Jude by The Beatles”), and determines that the processed voice input includes a command to play a song (e.g., “Hey Jude”). The computing device 106 c accordingly transmits commands to the media playback system 100 to play back “Hey Jude” by the Beatles from a suitable media service (e.g., via one or more of the computing devices 106) on one or more of the playback devices 110.

b. Suitable Playback Devices

FIG. 1C is a block diagram of the playback device 110 a comprising an input/output 111. The input/output 111 can include an analog I/O 111 a (e.g., one or more wires, cables, and/or other suitable communication links configured to carry analog signals) and/or a digital I/O 111 b (e.g., one or more wires, cables, or other suitable communication links configured to carry digital signals). In some embodiments, the analog I/O 111 a is an audio line-in input connection comprising, for example, an auto-detecting 3.5 mm audio line-in connection. In some embodiments, the digital I/O 111 b comprises a Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format (S/PDIF) communication interface and/or cable and/or a Toshiba Link (TOSLINK) cable. In some embodiments, the digital I/O 111 b comprises an High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) interface and/or cable. In some embodiments, the digital I/O 111 b includes one or more wireless communication links comprising, for example, a radio frequency (RF), infrared, WiFi, Bluetooth, or another suitable communication protocol. In certain embodiments, the analog I/O 111 a and the digital 111 b comprise interfaces (e.g., ports, plugs, jacks) configured to receive connectors of cables transmitting analog and digital signals, respectively, without necessarily including cables.

The playback device 110 a, for example, can receive media content (e.g., audio content comprising music and/or other sounds) from a local audio source 105 via the input/output 111 (e.g., a cable, a wire, a PAN, a Bluetooth connection, an ad hoc wired or wireless communication network, and/or another suitable communication link). The local audio source 105 can comprise, for example, a mobile device (e.g., a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop computer) or another suitable audio component (e.g., a television, a desktop computer, an amplifier, a phonograph, a Blu-ray player, a memory storing digital media files). In some aspects, the local audio source 105 includes local music libraries on a smartphone, a computer, a networked-attached storage (NAS), and/or another suitable device configured to store media files. In certain embodiments, one or more of the playback devices 110, NMDs 120, and/or control devices 130 comprise the local audio source 105. In other embodiments, however, the media playback system omits the local audio source 105 altogether. In some embodiments, the playback device 110 a does not include an input/output 111 and receives all audio content via the network 104.

The playback device 110 a further comprises electronics 112, a user interface 113 (e.g., one or more buttons, knobs, dials, touch-sensitive surfaces, displays, touchscreens), and one or more transducers 114 (referred to hereinafter as “the transducers 114”). The electronics 112 is configured to receive audio from an audio source (e.g., the local audio source 105) via the input/output 111, one or more of the computing devices 106 a-c via the network 104 (FIG. 1B)), amplify the received audio, and output the amplified audio for playback via one or more of the transducers 114. In some embodiments, the playback device 110 a optionally includes one or more microphones 115 (e.g., a single microphone, a plurality of microphones, a microphone array) (hereinafter referred to as “the microphones 115”). In certain embodiments, for example, the playback device 110 a having one or more of the optional microphones 115 can operate as an NMD configured to receive voice input from a user and correspondingly perform one or more operations based on the received voice input.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1C, the electronics 112 comprise one or more processors 112 a (referred to hereinafter as “the processors 112 a”), memory 112 b, software components 112 c, a network interface 112 d, one or more audio processing components 112 g (referred to hereinafter as “the audio components 112 g”), one or more audio amplifiers 112 h (referred to hereinafter as “the amplifiers 112 h”), and power 112 i (e.g., one or more power supplies, power cables, power receptacles, batteries, induction coils, Power-over Ethernet (POE) interfaces, and/or other suitable sources of electric power). In some embodiments, the electronics 112 optionally include one or more other components 112 j (e.g., one or more sensors, video displays, touchscreens, battery charging bases).

The processors 112 a can comprise clock-driven computing component(s) configured to process data, and the memory 112 b can comprise a computer-readable medium (e.g., a tangible, non-transitory computer-readable medium, data storage loaded with one or more of the software components 112 c) configured to store instructions for performing various operations and/or functions. The processors 112 a are configured to execute the instructions stored on the memory 112 b to perform one or more of the operations. The operations can include, for example, causing the playback device 110 a to retrieve audio data from an audio source (e.g., one or more of the computing devices 106 a-c (FIG. 1B)), and/or another one of the playback devices 110. In some embodiments, the operations further include causing the playback device 110 a to send audio data to another one of the playback devices 110 a and/or another device (e.g., one of the NMDs 120). Certain embodiments include operations causing the playback device 110 a to pair with another of the one or more playback devices 110 to enable a multi-channel audio environment (e.g., a stereo pair, a bonded zone).

The processors 112 a can be further configured to perform operations causing the playback device 110 a to synchronize playback of audio content with another of the one or more playback devices 110. As those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, during synchronous playback of audio content on a plurality of playback devices, a listener will preferably be unable to perceive time-delay differences between playback of the audio content by the playback device 110 a and the other one or more other playback devices 110. Additional details regarding audio playback synchronization among playback devices can be found, for example, in U.S. Pat. No. 8,234,395, which was incorporated by reference above.

In some embodiments, the memory 112 b is further configured to store data associated with the playback device 110 a, such as one or more zones and/or zone groups of which the playback device 110 a is a member, audio sources accessible to the playback device 110 a, and/or a playback queue that the playback device 110 a (and/or another of the one or more playback devices) can be associated with. The stored data can comprise one or more state variables that are periodically updated and used to describe a state of the playback device 110 a. The memory 112 b can also include data associated with a state of one or more of the other devices (e.g., the playback devices 110, NMDs 120, control devices 130) of the media playback system 100. In some aspects, for example, the state data is shared during predetermined intervals of time (e.g., every 5 seconds, every 10 seconds, every 60 seconds) among at least a portion of the devices of the media playback system 100, so that one or more of the devices have the most recent data associated with the media playback system 100.

The network interface 112 d is configured to facilitate a transmission of data between the playback device 110 a and one or more other devices on a data network such as, for example, the links 103 and/or the network 104 (FIG. 1B). The network interface 112 d is configured to transmit and receive data corresponding to media content (e.g., audio content, video content, text, photographs) and other signals (e.g., non-transitory signals) comprising digital packet data including an Internet Protocol (IP)-based source address and/or an IP-based destination address. The network interface 112 d can parse the digital packet data such that the electronics 112 properly receives and processes the data destined for the playback device 110 a.

In the illustrated embodiment of FIG. 1C, the network interface 112 d comprises one or more wireless interfaces 112 e (referred to hereinafter as “the wireless interface 112 e”). The wireless interface 112 e (e.g., a suitable interface comprising one or more antennae) can be configured to wirelessly communicate with one or more other devices (e.g., one or more of the other playback devices 110, NMDs 120, and/or control devices 130) that are communicatively coupled to the network 104 (FIG. 1B) in accordance with a suitable wireless communication protocol (e.g., WiFi, Bluetooth, LTE). In some embodiments, the network interface 112 d optionally includes a wired interface 112 f (e.g., an interface or receptacle configured to receive a network cable such as an Ethernet, a USB-A, USB-C, and/or Thunderbolt cable) configured to communicate over a wired connection with other devices in accordance with a suitable wired communication protocol. In certain embodiments, the network interface 112 d includes the wired interface 112 f and excludes the wireless interface 112 e. In some embodiments, the electronics 112 excludes the network interface 112 d altogether and transmits and receives media content and/or other data via another communication path (e.g., the input/output 111).

The audio components 112 g are configured to process and/or filter data comprising media content received by the electronics 112 (e.g., via the input/output 111 and/or the network interface 112 d) to produce output audio signals. In some embodiments, the audio processing components 112 g comprise, for example, one or more digital-to-analog converters (DAC), audio preprocessing components, audio enhancement components, a digital signal processors (DSPs), and/or other suitable audio processing components, modules, circuits, etc. In certain embodiments, one or more of the audio processing components 112 g can comprise one or more subcomponents of the processors 112 a. In some embodiments, the electronics 112 omits the audio processing components 112 g. In some aspects, for example, the processors 112 a execute instructions stored on the memory 112 b to perform audio processing operations to produce the output audio signals.

The amplifiers 112 h are configured to receive and amplify the audio output signals produced by the audio processing components 112 g and/or the processors 112 a. The amplifiers 112 h can comprise electronic devices and/or components configured to amplify audio signals to levels sufficient for driving one or more of the transducers 114. In some embodiments, for example, the amplifiers 112 h include one or more switching or class-D power amplifiers. In other embodiments, however, the amplifiers include one or more other types of power amplifiers (e.g., linear gain power amplifiers, class-A amplifiers, class-B amplifiers, class-AB amplifiers, class-C amplifiers, class-D amplifiers, class-E amplifiers, class-F amplifiers, class-G and/or class H amplifiers, and/or another suitable type of power amplifier). In certain embodiments, the amplifiers 112 h comprise a suitable combination of two or more of the foregoing types of power amplifiers. Moreover, in some embodiments, individual ones of the amplifiers 112 h correspond to individual ones of the transducers 114. In other embodiments, however, the electronics 112 includes a single one of the amplifiers 112 h configured to output amplified audio signals to a plurality of the transducers 114. In some other embodiments, the electronics 112 omits the amplifiers 112 h.

The transducers 114 (e.g., one or more speakers and/or speaker drivers) receive the amplified audio signals from the amplifier 112 h and render or output the amplified audio signals as sound (e.g., audible sound waves having a frequency between about 20 Hertz (Hz) and 20 kilohertz (kHz)). In some embodiments, the transducers 114 can comprise a single transducer. In other embodiments, however, the transducers 114 comprise a plurality of audio transducers. In some embodiments, the transducers 114 comprise more than one type of transducer. For example, the transducers 114 can include one or more low frequency transducers (e.g., subwoofers, woofers), mid-range frequency transducers (e.g., mid-range transducers, mid-woofers), and one or more high frequency transducers (e.g., one or more tweeters). As used herein, “low frequency” can generally refer to audible frequencies below about 500 Hz, “mid-range frequency” can generally refer to audible frequencies between about 500 Hz and about 2 kHz, and “high frequency” can generally refer to audible frequencies above 2 kHz. In certain embodiments, however, one or more of the transducers 114 comprise transducers that do not adhere to the foregoing frequency ranges. For example, one of the transducers 114 may comprise a mid-woofer transducer configured to output sound at frequencies between about 200 Hz and about 5 kHz.

By way of illustration, SONOS, Inc. presently offers (or has offered) for sale certain playback devices including, for example, a “SONOS ONE,” “PLAY:1,” “PLAY:3,” “PLAY:5,” “PLAYBAR,” “PLAYBASE,” “CONNECT:AMP,” “CONNECT,” and “SUB.” Other suitable playback devices may additionally or alternatively be used to implement the playback devices of example embodiments disclosed herein. Additionally, one of ordinary skilled in the art will appreciate that a playback device is not limited to the examples described herein or to SONOS product offerings. In some embodiments, for example, one or more playback devices 110 comprises wired or wireless headphones (e.g., over-the-ear headphones, on-ear headphones, in-ear earphones). In other embodiments, one or more of the playback devices 110 comprise a docking station and/or an interface configured to interact with a docking station for personal mobile media playback devices. In certain embodiments, a playback device may be integral to another device or component such as a television, a lighting fixture, or some other device for indoor or outdoor use. In some embodiments, a playback device omits a user interface and/or one or more transducers. For example, FIG. 1D is a block diagram of a playback device 110 p comprising the input/output 111 and electronics 112 without the user interface 113 or transducers 114.

FIG. 1E is a block diagram of a bonded playback device 110 q comprising the playback device 110 a (FIG. 1C) sonically bonded with the playback device 110 i (e.g., a subwoofer) (FIG. 1A). In the illustrated embodiment, the playback devices 110 a and 110 i are separate ones of the playback devices 110 housed in separate enclosures. In some embodiments, however, the bonded playback device 110 q comprises a single enclosure housing both the playback devices 110 a and 110 i. The bonded playback device 110 q can be configured to process and reproduce sound differently than an unbonded playback device (e.g., the playback device 110 a of FIG. 1C) and/or paired or bonded playback devices (e.g., the playback devices 110 l and 110 m of FIG. 1B). In some embodiments, for example, the playback device 110 a is full-range playback device configured to render low frequency, mid-range frequency, and high frequency audio content, and the playback device 110 i is a subwoofer configured to render low frequency audio content. In some aspects, the playback device 110 a, when bonded with the first playback device, is configured to render only the mid-range and high frequency components of a particular audio content, while the playback device 110 i renders the low frequency component of the particular audio content. In some embodiments, the bonded playback device 110 q includes additional playback devices and/or another bonded playback device.

c. Suitable Network Microphone Devices (NMDs)

FIG. 1F is a block diagram of the NMD 120 a (FIGS. 1A and 1B). The NMD 120 a includes one or more voice processing components 124 (hereinafter “the voice components 124”) and several components described with respect to the playback device 110 a (FIG. 1C) including the processors 112 a, the memory 112 b, and the microphones 115. The NMD 120 a optionally comprises other components also included in the playback device 110 a (FIG. 1C), such as the user interface 113 and/or the transducers 114. In some embodiments, the NMD 120 a is configured as a media playback device (e.g., one or more of the playback devices 110), and further includes, for example, one or more of the audio components 112 g (FIG. 1C), the amplifiers 114, and/or other playback device components. In certain embodiments, the NMD 120 a comprises an Internet of Things (IoT) device such as, for example, a thermostat, alarm panel, fire and/or smoke detector, etc. In some embodiments, the NMD 120 a comprises the microphones 115, the voice processing 124, and only a portion of the components of the electronics 112 described above with respect to FIG. 1B. In some aspects, for example, the NMD 120 a includes the processor 112 a and the memory 112 b (FIG. 1B), while omitting one or more other components of the electronics 112. In some embodiments, the NMD 120 a includes additional components (e.g., one or more sensors, cameras, thermometers, barometers, hygrometers).

In some embodiments, an NMD can be integrated into a playback device. FIG. 1G is a block diagram of a playback device 110 r comprising an NMD 120 d. The playback device 110 r can comprise many or all of the components of the playback device 110 a and further include the microphones 115 and voice processing 124 (FIG. 1F). The playback device 110 r optionally includes an integrated control device 130 c. The control device 130 c can comprise, for example, a user interface (e.g., the user interface 113 of FIG. 1B) configured to receive user input (e.g., touch input, voice input) without a separate control device. In other embodiments, however, the playback device 110 r receives commands from another control device (e.g., the control device 130 a of FIG. 1B).

Referring again to FIG. 1F, the microphones 115 are configured to acquire, capture, and/or receive sound from an environment (e.g., the environment 101 of FIG. 1A) and/or a room in which the NMD 120 a is positioned. The received sound can include, for example, vocal utterances, audio played back by the NMD 120 a and/or another playback device, background voices, ambient sounds, etc. The microphones 115 convert the received sound into electrical signals to produce microphone data. The voice processing 124 receives and analyzes the microphone data to determine whether a voice input is present in the microphone data. The voice input can comprise, for example, an activation word followed by an utterance including a user request. As those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate, an activation word is a word or other audio cue that signifying a user voice input. For instance, in querying the AMAZON® VAS, a user might speak the activation word “Alexa.” Other examples include “Ok, Google” for invoking the GOOGLE® VAS and “Hey, Siri” for invoking the APPLE® VAS.

After detecting the activation word, voice processing 124 monitors the microphone data for an accompanying user request in the voice input. The user request may include, for example, a command to control a third-party device, such as a thermostat (e.g., NEST® thermostat), an illumination device (e.g., a PHILIPS HUE® lighting device), or a media playback device (e.g., a Sonos® playback device). For example, a user might speak the activation word “Alexa” followed by the utterance “set the thermostat to 68 degrees” to set a temperature in a home (e.g., the environment 101 of FIG. 1A). The user might speak the same activation word followed by the utterance “turn on the living room” to turn on illumination devices in a living room area of the home. The user may similarly speak an activation word followed by a request to play a particular song, an album, or a playlist of music on a playback device in the home.

d. Suitable Control Devices

FIG. 1H is a partially schematic diagram of the control device 130 a (FIGS. 1A and 1B). As used herein, the term “control device” can be used interchangeably with “controller” or “control system.” Among other features, the control device 130 a is configured to receive user input related to the media playback system 100 and, in response, cause one or more devices in the media playback system 100 to perform an action(s) or operation(s) corresponding to the user input. In the illustrated embodiment, the control device 130 a comprises a smartphone (e.g., an iPhone™, an Android phone) on which media playback system controller application software is installed. In some embodiments, the control device 130 a comprises, for example, a tablet (e.g., an iPad™), a computer (e.g., a laptop computer, a desktop computer), and/or another suitable device (e.g., a television, an automobile audio head unit, an IoT device). In certain embodiments, the control device 130 a comprises a dedicated controller for the media playback system 100. In other embodiments, as described above with respect to FIG. 1G, the control device 130 a is integrated into another device in the media playback system 100 (e.g., one more of the playback devices 110, NMDs 120, and/or other suitable devices configured to communicate over a network).

The control device 130 a includes electronics 132, a user interface 133, one or more speakers 134, and one or more microphones 135. The electronics 132 comprise one or more processors 132 a (referred to hereinafter as “the processors 132 a”), a memory 132 b, software components 132 c, and a network interface 132 d. The processor 132 a can be configured to perform functions relevant to facilitating user access, control, and configuration of the media playback system 100. The memory 132 b can comprise data storage that can be loaded with one or more of the software components executable by the processor 132 a to perform those functions. The software components 132 c can comprise applications and/or other executable software configured to facilitate control of the media playback system 100. The memory 112 b can be configured to store, for example, the software components 132 c, media playback system controller application software, and/or other data associated with the media playback system 100 and the user.

The network interface 132 d is configured to facilitate network communications between the control device 130 a and one or more other devices in the media playback system 100, and/or one or more remote devices. In some embodiments, the network interface 132 is configured to operate according to one or more suitable communication industry standards (e.g., infrared, radio, wired standards including IEEE 802.3, wireless standards including IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, 802.15, 4G, LTE). The network interface 132 d can be configured, for example, to transmit data to and/or receive data from the playback devices 110, the NMDs 120, other ones of the control devices 130, one of the computing devices 106 of FIG. 1B, devices comprising one or more other media playback systems, etc. The transmitted and/or received data can include, for example, playback device control commands, state variables, playback zone and/or zone group configurations. For instance, based on user input received at the user interface 133, the network interface 132 d can transmit a playback device control command (e.g., volume control, audio playback control, audio content selection) from the control device 130 a to one or more of the playback devices 100. The network interface 132 d can also transmit and/or receive configuration changes such as, for example, adding/removing one or more playback devices 100 to/from a zone, adding/removing one or more zones to/from a zone group, forming a bonded or consolidated player, separating one or more playback devices from a bonded or consolidated player, among others.

The user interface 133 is configured to receive user input and can facilitate ‘control of the media playback system 100. The user interface 133 includes media content art 133 a (e.g., album art, lyrics, videos), a playback status indicator 133 b (e.g., an elapsed and/or remaining time indicator), media content information region 133 c, a playback control region 133 d, and a zone indicator 133 e. The media content information region 133 c can include a display of relevant information (e.g., title, artist, album, genre, release year) about media content currently playing and/or media content in a queue or playlist. The playback control region 133 d can include selectable (e.g., via touch input and/or via a cursor or another suitable selector) icons to cause one or more playback devices in a selected playback zone or zone group to perform playback actions such as, for example, play or pause, fast forward, rewind, skip to next, skip to previous, enter/exit shuffle mode, enter/exit repeat mode, enter/exit cross fade mode, etc. The playback control region 133 d may also include selectable icons to modify equalization settings, playback volume, and/or other suitable playback actions. In the illustrated embodiment, the user interface 133 comprises a display presented on a touch screen interface of a smartphone (e.g., an iPhone™, an Android phone). In some embodiments, however, user interfaces of varying formats, styles, and interactive sequences may alternatively be implemented on one or more network devices to provide comparable control access to a media playback system.

The one or more speakers 134 (e.g., one or more transducers) can be configured to output sound to the user of the control device 130 a. In some embodiments, the one or more speakers comprise individual transducers configured to correspondingly output low frequencies, mid-range frequencies, and/or high frequencies. In some aspects, for example, the control device 130 a is configured as a playback device (e.g., one of the playback devices 110). Similarly, in some embodiments the control device 130 a is configured as an NMD (e.g., one of the NMDs 120), receiving voice commands and other sounds via the one or more microphones 135.

The one or more microphones 135 can comprise, for example, one or more condenser microphones, electret condenser microphones, dynamic microphones, and/or other suitable types of microphones or transducers. In some embodiments, two or more of the microphones 135 are arranged to capture location information of an audio source (e.g., voice, audible sound) and/or configured to facilitate filtering of background noise. Moreover, in certain embodiments, the control device 130 a is configured to operate as playback device and an NMD. In other embodiments, however, the control device 130 a omits the one or more speakers 134 and/or the one or more microphones 135. For instance, the control device 130 a may comprise a device (e.g., a thermostat, an IoT device, a network device) comprising a portion of the electronics 132 and the user interface 133 (e.g., a touch screen) without any speakers or microphones.

III. Example Systems and Methods for Calibrating a Playback Device

As discussed above, in some examples, a playback device is configured to calibrate itself to account for an acoustic response of a room in which the playback device is located. The playback device performs this self-calibration by leveraging a database that is populated with calibration settings that were determined for a number of other playback devices. In some embodiments, the calibration settings stored in the database are determined based on multi-location acoustic responses for the rooms of the other playback devices.

FIG. 2A depicts an example environment for using a multi-location acoustic response of a room to determine calibration settings for a playback device. As shown in FIG. 2A, a playback device 210 a and a network device 230 are located in a room 201 a. The playback device 210 a may be similar to any of the playback devices 110 depicted in FIGS. 1A-1E and 1G, and the network device 230 may be similar to any of the NMDs 120 or controllers 130 depicted in FIGS. 1A-1B and 1F-1H. One or both of the playback device 210 a and the network device 230 are in communication, either directly or indirectly, with a computing device 206. The computing device 206 may be similar to any of the computing devices 106 depicted in FIG. 1B. For instance, the computing device 206 may be a server located remotely from the room 201 a and connected to the playback device 210 a and/or the network device 230 over a wired or wireless communication network.

In practice, the playback device 210 a outputs audio content via one or more transducers (e.g., one or more speakers and/or speaker drivers) of the playback device 210 a. In one example, the audio content is output using a test signal or measurement signal representative of audio content that may be played by the playback device 210 a during regular use by a user. Accordingly, the audio content may include content with frequencies substantially covering a renderable frequency range of the playback device 210 a or a frequency range audible to a human. In one case, the audio content is output using an audio signal designed specifically for use when calibrating playback devices such as the playback device 210 a being calibrated in examples discussed herein. In another case, the audio content is an audio track that is a favorite of a user of the playback device 210 a, or a commonly played audio track by the playback device 210 a. Other examples are also possible.

While the playback device 210 a outputs the audio content, the network device 230 moves to various locations within the room 201 a. For instance, the network device 230 may move between a first physical location and a second physical location within the room 201 a. As shown in FIG. 2A, the first physical location may be the point (a), and the second physical location may be the point (b). While moving from the first physical location (a) to the second physical location (b), the network device 230 may traverse locations within the room 201 a where one or more listeners may experience audio playback during regular use of the playback device 210 a. For instance, as shown, the room 201 a includes a kitchen area and a dining area, and a path 208 between the first physical location (a) and the second physical location (b) covers locations within the kitchen area and dining area where one or more listeners may experience audio playback during regular use of the playback device 210 a.

In some examples, movement of the network device 230 between the first physical location (a) and the second physical location (b) may be performed by a user. In one case, a graphical display of the network device 230 may provide an indication to move the network device 230 within the room 201 a. For instance, the graphical display may display text, such as “While audio is playing, please move the network device through locations within the playback zone where you or others may enjoy music.” Other examples are also possible.

The network device 230 determines a multi-location acoustic response of the room 201 a. To facilitate this, while the network device 230 is moving between physical locations within the room 201 a, the network device 230 captures audio data representing reflections of the audio content output by the playback device 210 a in the room 201 a. For instance, the network device 230 may be a mobile device with a built-in microphone (e.g., microphone(s) 115 of network microphone device 120 a), and the network device 230 may use the built-in microphone to capture the audio data representing reflections of the audio content at multiple locations within the room 201 a.

The multi-location acoustic response is an acoustic response of the room 201 a based on the detected audio data representing reflections of the audio content at multiple locations in the room 201 a, such as at the first physical location (a) and the second physical location (b). The multi-location acoustic response may be represented as a spectral response, spatial response, or temporal response, among others. The spectral response may be an indication of how volume of audio sound captured by the microphone varies with frequency within the room 201 a. A power spectral density is an example representation of the spectral response. The spatial response may indicate how the volume of the audio sound captured by the microphone varies with direction and/or spatial position in the room 201 a. The temporal response may be an indication of how audio sound played by the playback device 210 a, e.g., an impulse sound or tone played by the playback device 210 a, changes within the room 201 a. The change may be characterized as a reverberation, delay, decay, or phase change of the audio sound.

The responses may be represented in various forms. For instance, the spatial response and temporal responses may be represented as room averages. Additionally, or alternatively, the multi-location acoustic response may be represented as a set of impulse responses or bi-quad filter coefficients representative of the acoustic response, among others. Values of the multi-location acoustic response may be represented in vector or matrix form.

Audio played by the playback device 210 a is adjusted based on the multi-location acoustic response of the room 201 a so as to offset or otherwise account for acoustics of the room 201 a indicated by the multi-location acoustic response. In particular, the multi-location acoustic response is used to identify calibration settings, which may include determining an audio processing algorithm. U.S. Pat. No. 9,706,323, incorporated by reference above, discloses various audio processing algorithms, which are contemplated herein.

In some examples, determining the audio processing algorithm involves determining an audio processing algorithm that, when applied to the playback device 210 a, causes audio content output by the playback device 210 a in the room 201 a to have a target frequency response. For instance, determining the audio processing algorithm may involve determining frequency responses at the multiple locations traversed by the network device while moving within the room 201 a and determining an audio processing algorithm that adjusts the frequency responses at those locations to more closely reflect target frequency responses. In one example, if one or more of the determined frequency responses has a particular audio frequency that is more attenuated than other frequencies, then determining the audio processing algorithm may involve determining an audio processing algorithm that increases amplification at the particular audio frequency. Other examples are possible as well.

In some examples, the audio processing algorithm takes the form of a filter or equalization. The filter or equalization may be applied by the playback device 210 a (e.g., via audio processing components 112 g). Alternatively, the filter or equalization may be applied by another playback device, the computing device 206, and/or the network device 230, which then provides the processed audio content to the playback device 210 a for output. The filter or equalization may be applied to audio content played by the playback device 210 a until such time that the filter or equalization is changed or is no longer valid for the room 201 a.

The audio processing algorithm may be stored in a database of the computing device 206 or may be calculated dynamically. For instance, in some examples, the network device 230 sends to the computing device 206 the detected audio data representing reflections of the audio content at multiple locations in the room 201 a, and receives, from the computing device 206, the audio processing algorithm after the computing device 206 has determined the audio processing algorithm. In other examples, the network device 230 determines the audio processing algorithm based on the detected audio data representing reflections of the audio content at multiple locations in the room 201 a.

Further, while the network device 230 captures audio data at multiple locations in the room 201 a for determining the multi-location acoustic response of the room 201 a, the playback device 210 a concurrently captures audio data at a stationary location for determining a localized acoustic response of the room 201 a. To facilitate this, the playback device 210 a may have one or more microphones, which may be fixed in location. For example, the one or more microphones may be co-located in or on the playback device 210 a (e.g., mounted in a housing of the playback device) or be co-located in or on an NMD proximate to the playback device 210 a. Additionally, the one or more microphones may be oriented in one or more directions. The one or more microphones detect audio data representing reflections of the audio content output by the playback device 210 a in the room 201 a, and this detected audio data is used to determine the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a.

The localized acoustic response is an acoustic response of the room 201 a based on the detected audio data representing reflections of the audio content at a stationary location in the room. The stationary location may be at the one or more microphones located on or proximate to the playback device 210 a, but could also be at the microphone of an NMD or a controller device proximate to the playback device 210 a.

The localized acoustic response may be represented as a spectral response, spatial response, or temporal response, among others. The spectral response may be an indication of how volume of audio sound captured by the microphone varies with frequency within the room 201 a. A power spectral density is an example representation of the spectral response. The spatial response may indicate how the volume of the audio sound captured by the microphone varies with direction and/or spatial position in the room 201 a. The temporal response may be an indication of how audio sound played by the playback device 210 a, e.g., an impulse sound or tone played by the playback device 210 a, changes within the room 201 a. The change may be characterized as a reverberation, delay, decay, or phase change of the audio sound. The spatial response and temporal response may be represented as averages in some instances. Additionally, or alternatively, the localized acoustic response may be represented as a set of impulse responses or bi-quad filter coefficients representative of the acoustic response, among others. Values of the localized acoustic response may be represented in vector or matrix form.

Similar to the multi-location acoustic response, the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a may be used to determine a set of calibration settings for the playback device 210 a. As such, calibration settings based on a multi-location acoustic response are referred to herein as “multi-location calibration settings,” and calibration settings based on a localized acoustic response are referred to herein as “localized calibration settings.” Further, like the multi-location calibration settings, the localized calibration settings are configured to offset or otherwise account for acoustic characteristics of the room 201 a. In some examples, the localized calibration settings, when applied to the playback device 210 a, cause audio content output by the playback device 210 a in the room 201 a to have a target frequency response. For instance, determining the localized calibration settings may involve determining an audio processing algorithm that adjusts a frequency response detected at or near the playback device 210 a to more closely reflect a target frequency response. In one example, if the detected frequency response has a particular audio frequency that is more attenuated than other frequencies, then determining the localized calibration settings may involve determining an audio processing algorithm that increases amplification at the particular audio frequency. Other examples are possible as well.

Like the multi-location calibration settings, the localized calibration settings of the room 201 a may be determined in various ways. In one case, the playback device 210 a determines the localized acoustic response based on the detected audio data representing audio reflections captured by the playback device 210 a within the room 201 a, and then the playback device 210 a determines the localized calibration settings based on the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a. In another case, the playback device 210 a sends the detected audio data to the network device 230, the network device 230 determines the localized acoustic response based on the detected audio data, and the network device 230 determines the localized calibration settings based on the localized acoustic response. In yet another case, the playback device 210 a or the network device 230 sends the detected audio data to the computing device 206, and the computing device 206 (or another device connected to the computing device 206) determines the localized acoustic response and the localized calibration settings.

Once the multi-location calibration settings for the playback device 210 a and the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a are determined, this data is then provided to a computing device, such as computing device 206, for storage in a database. For instance, the network device 230 may send the determined multi-location calibration settings to the computing device 206, and the playback device 210 a may send the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a to the computing device 206. In other examples, the network device 230 or the playback device 210 a sends both the determined multi-location calibration settings and the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a to the computing device 206. Other examples are possible as well.

FIG. 2B depicts an example database 250 for storing both the determined multi-location calibration settings for the playback device 210 a and the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a. The database 250 may be stored on a computing device, such as computing device 206, located remotely from the playback device 210 a and/or from the network device 230, or the database 250 may be stored on the playback device 210 a and/or the network device 230. The database 250 includes a number of records, and each record includes data representing multi-location calibrations settings (identified as “settings 1” through “settings 5”) for various playback devices as well as room responses (identified as “response 1” through “response 5”), such as localized acoustic responses, associated with the multi-location calibration settings. For the purpose of illustration, the database 250 only depicts five records (numbered 1-5), but in practice should include many more than five records to improve the accuracy of the calibration processes described in further detail below.

When the computing device 206 receives data representing the multi-location calibration settings for the playback device 210 a and data representing the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a, the computing device 206 stores the received data in a record of the database 250. As an example, the computing device 206 stores the received data in record #1 of the database 250, such that “response 1” includes data representing the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a, and “settings 1” includes data representing the multi-location calibration settings for the playback device 210 a. In some cases, the database 250 also includes data representing respective multi-location acoustic responses associated with the localized acoustic responses and the corresponding multi-location calibration settings. For instance, if record #1 of database 250 corresponds to playback device 210 a, then “response 1” may include data representing both the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a and the multi-location acoustic response of the room 201 a.

As further shown, in some examples, the database 250 includes data identifying a type of a playback device associate with each record. Playback device “type” refers to a model or revision of a model, as well as different models that are designed to produce similar audio output (e.g., playback devices with similar components), among other examples. The type of the playback device may be indicated when providing the calibration settings and room response data to the database 250. As an example, in addition to the network device 230 and/or the playback device 210 a sending data representing the multi-location calibration settings for the playback device 210 a and data representing the localized acoustic response of the room 201 a to the computing device 206, the network device 230 and/or the playback device 210 a also sends data representing a type of the playback device 210 a to the computing device. Examples of playback device types offered by Sonos, Inc. include, by way of illustration, various models of playback devices such as a “SONOS ONE,” “PLAY:1,” “PLAY:3,” “PLAY:5,” “PLAYBAR,” “PLAYBASE,” “CONNECT:AMP,” “CONNECT,” and “SUB,” among others.

In some examples, the data identifying the type of the playback device additionally or alternatively includes data identifying a configuration of the playback device. For instance, as described above in connection with FIG. 1E, a playback device may be a bonded or paired playback device configured to process and reproduce sound differently than an unbonded or unpaired playback device. Accordingly, in some examples, the data identifying the type of the playback device 210 a includes data identifying whether the playback device 210 a is in a bonded or paired configuration.

By storing in the database 250 data identifying the type of the playback device, the database 250 may be more quickly searched by filtering data based on playback device type, as described in further detail below. However, in some examples, the database 250 does not include data identifying the device type of the playback device associated with each record.

Each record of the database 250 corresponds to a historical playback device calibration process in which a particular playback device was calibrated by determining calibration settings based on a multi-location acoustic response, as described above in connection with FIG. 2A. The calibration processes are “historical” in the sense that they relate to multi-location calibration settings and localized acoustic responses determined for rooms with various types of acoustic characteristics previously determined and stored in the database 250. As additional iterations of the calibration process are performed, the resulting multi-location calibration settings and localized acoustic responses may be added to the database 250.

Other playback devices may leverage the historical multi-location calibration settings and localized acoustic responses stored in the database 250 in order to self-calibrate to account for the acoustic responses of the rooms in which they are located. In one example, a playback device determines a localized acoustic response of a room in which the device is located, and the playback device queries the database 250 to identify a record having a stored acoustic response that is similar to the determined acoustic response. The playback device then applies to itself the multi-location calibration settings stored in the database 250 that are associated with the identified record.

Efficacy of the applied calibration settings is influenced by a degree of similarity between the identified stored acoustic response in the database 250 and the determined acoustic response for the playback device being calibrated. In particular, if the acoustic responses are significantly similar or identical, then the applied calibration settings are more likely to accurately offset or otherwise account for an acoustic response of the room in which the playback device being calibrated is located (e.g., by achieving or approaching a target frequency response in the room, as described above). On the other hand, if the acoustic responses are relatively dissimilar, then the applied calibration settings are less likely to accurately account for an acoustic response of the room in which the playback device being calibrated is located. Accordingly, populating the database 250 with records corresponding to a significantly large number of historical calibration processes may be desirable so as to increase the likelihood of the database 250 including acoustic response data similar to an acoustic response of the room of the playback device presently being calibrated.

FIG. 2C depicts an example environment in which a playback device 210 b leverages the database 250 to perform a self-calibration process without determining a multi-location acoustic response of its room 201 b.

In one example, the self-calibration of the playback device 210 b may be initiated when the playback device 210 b is being set up for the first time in the room 201 b, when the playback device 210 b first outputs music or some other audio content, or if the playback device 210 b has been moved to a new location. For instance, if the playback device 210 b is moved to a new location, calibration of the playback device 210 b may be initiated based on a detection of the movement (e.g., via a global positioning system (GPS), one or more accelerometers, or wireless signal strength variations), or based on a user input indicating that the playback device 210 b has moved to a new location (e.g., a change in playback zone name associated with the playback device 210 b).

In another example, calibration of the playback device 210 b may be initiated via a controller device, such as the controller device 130 a depicted in FIG. 1H. For instance, a user may access a controller interface for the playback device 210 b to initiate calibration of the playback device 210 b. In one case, the user may access the controller interface, and select the playback device 210 b (or a group of playback devices that includes the playback device 210 b) for calibration. In some cases, a calibration interface may be provided as part of a playback device controller interface to allow a user to initiate playback device calibration. Other examples are also possible.

Further, in some examples, calibration of the playback device 210 b is initiated periodically, or after a threshold amount of time has elapsed after a previous calibration, in order to account for changes to the environment of the playback device 210 b. For instance, a user may change a layout of the room 201 b (e.g., by adding, removing, or rearranging furniture), thereby altering the acoustic response of the room 201 b. As a result, any calibration settings applied to the playback device 210 b before the room 201 b is altered may have a reduced efficacy of accounting for, or offsetting, the altered acoustic response of the room 201 b. Initiating calibration of the playback device 210 b periodically, or after a threshold amount of time has elapsed after a previous calibration, can help address this issue by updating the calibration settings at a later time (i.e., after the room 201 b is altered) so that the calibration settings applied to the playback device 210 b are based on the altered acoustic response of the room 201 b.

Additionally, because calibration of the playback device 210 b involves accessing and retrieving calibration settings from the database 250, as described in further detail below, initiating calibration of the playback device 210 b periodically, or after a threshold amount of time has elapsed after a previous calibration, may further improve a listening experience in the room 201 b by accounting for changes to the database 250. For instance, as users continue to calibrate various playback devices in various rooms, the database 250 continues to be updated with additional acoustic room responses and corresponding calibration settings. As such, a newly added acoustic response (i.e., an acoustic response that is added to the database 250 after the playback device 210 b has already been calibrated) may more closely resemble the acoustic response of the room 201 b. Thus, by initiating calibration of the playback device 210 b periodically, or after a threshold amount of time has elapsed after a previous calibration, the calibration settings corresponding to the newly added acoustic response may be applied to the playback device 210 b. Accordingly, in some examples, the playback device 210 b determines that at least a threshold amount of time has elapsed after the playback device 210 b has been calibrated, and, responsive to making such a determination, the playback device 210 b initiates a calibration process, such as the calibration processes described below.

When performing the calibration process, the playback device 210 b outputs audio content and determines a localized acoustic response of its room 201 b similarly to how playback device 210 a determined a localized acoustic response of room 201 a. For instance, the playback device 210 b outputs audio content, which may include music or one or more predefined tones, captures audio data representing reflections of the audio content within the room 201 b, and determines the localized acoustic response based on the captured audio data.

Causing the playback device 210 b to output spectrally rich audio content during the calibration process may yield a more accurate localized acoustic response of the room 201 b. Thus, in examples where the audio content includes predefined tones, the playback device 210 b may output predefined tones over a range of frequencies for determining the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b. And in examples where the audio content includes music, such as music played during normal use of the playback device 210 b, the playback device 210 b may determine the localized acoustic response based on audio data that is captured over an extended period of time. For instance, as the playback device 210 b outputs music, the playback device 210 b may continue to capture audio data representing reflections of the output music within the room 201 b until a threshold amount of data at a threshold amount of frequencies is captured. Depending on the spectral content of the output music, the playback device 210 b may capture the reflected audio data over the course of multiple songs, for instance, in order for the playback device 210 b to have captured the threshold amount of data at the threshold amount of frequencies. In this manner, the playback device 210 b gradually learns the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b, and once a threshold confidence in understanding of the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b is met, then the playback device 210 b uses the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b to determine calibration settings for the playback device 210 b, as described in further detail below.

The playback device 210 b may output the audio content at various volume levels. For instance, if audio characteristics such as acceptable volume ranges of the playback device 210 b are known, then the playback device 210 b or a controller device, such as the controller 130 a depicted in FIG. 1H, in communication with the playback device 210 b may cause the playback device 210 b to output the audio content at a volume that falls within the acceptable volume range of the playback device 210 b. However, there may be circumstances in which the acceptable volume range of the playback device 210 b is not known. For instance, the playback device 210 b may include an amplifier, such as the “CONNECT:AMP,” offered by Sonos, Inc., configured to output audio via connection to external speakers with unknown audio characteristics. Without knowing the audio characteristics of the speakers, the playback device 210 b could damage the speakers by attempting to drive the speakers with too high electrical current.

The above issue may be addressed in various ways. For instance, in some examples, the playback device 210 b is configured to apply a limit to the output volume or to the driver current. The limit may be set to a conservative value that is safe for most or virtually all speakers. In some embodiments, a user inputs into a controller device, for instance, information identifying or characterizing the speakers of the playback device 210 b. The information may include a manufacturer and/or model number of the speakers, a size of the speakers, a maximum rated current or wattage of the speakers, or any other information that could be used to characterize the audio capabilities of the speakers. The controller then uses the input information to set an appropriate output volume of the playback device 210 b. In some embodiments, the playback device 210 b is configured to measure an impedance curve of the speakers, and the playback device 210 b or the controller device sets the output volume of the playback device 210 b based on the measured impedance curve.

In some embodiments, the playback device 210 b varies the volume of the audio content while the playback device 210 b outputs the audio content. In one example, the playback device 210 b outputs the audio content at a first, lower volume and increases the volume of the audio content to a second, higher volume. The increase may be a gradual increase over time (i.e., over a first portion of the time period in which the playback device is outputting the audio content).

The playback device 210 b may determine when to stop increasing the volume based on various characteristics, such as a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of audio detected by the playback device 210 b while outputting the audio content. A determined acoustic room response may be more accurate if the audio used for determining the room response has a high SNR. Thus, in some examples, the playback device 210 b uses its microphone to capture audio data representing the output audio content within the room 201 b, and the playback device 210 b determines an SNR of the captured audio data. If the determined SNR is below a threshold SNR, then the playback device 210 b increases the volume of the output audio content. The playback device 210 b continues to increase the volume of the output audio content until the determined SNR exceeds the threshold SNR value. Similarly, in order to avoid outputting excessively loud audio content, in some embodiments the playback device 210 b decreases the volume of the output audio content responsive to determining that the SNR of the captured audio exceeds the threshold SNR value by a predetermined amount.

While outputting the audio content, the playback device 210 b uses one or more stationary microphones, which may be disposed in or on a housing of the playback device 210 b or may be co-located in or on an NMD proximate to the playback device 210 b, to capture audio data representing reflections of the audio content in the room 201 b. The playback device 210 b then uses the captured audio data to determine the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b. In line with the discussion above, the localized acoustic response may include a spectral response, spatial response, or temporal response, among others, and the localized acoustic response may be represented in vector or matrix form.

In some embodiments, determining the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b involves accounting for a self-response of the playback device 210 b or of a microphone of the playback device 210 b, for example, by processing the captured audio data representing reflections of the audio content in the room 201 b so that the captured audio data reduces or excludes the playback device's native influence on the audio reflections.

In one example, the self-response of the playback device 210 b is determined in an anechoic chamber, or is otherwise known based on a self-response of a similar playback device being determined in an anechoic chamber. In the anechoic chamber, audio content output by the playback device 210 b is inhibited from reflecting back toward the playback device 210 b, so that audio captured by a microphone of the playback device 210 b is indicative of the self-response of the playback device 210 b or of the microphone of the playback device 210 b. Knowing the self-response of the playback device 210 b or of the microphone of the playback device 210 b, the playback device 210 offsets such a self-response from the captured audio data representing reflections of the first audio content when determining the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b.

Once the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b is known, the playback device 210 b accesses the database 250 to determine a set of calibration settings to account for the acoustic response of the room 201 b. For example, the playback device 210 b establishes a connection with the computing device 206 and with the database 250 of the computing device 206, and the playback device 210 b queries the database 250 for a stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined localized acoustic response of the room 201 b.

In some examples, querying the database 250 involves mapping the determined localized acoustic response of the room 201 b to a particular stored acoustic room response in the database 250 that satisfies a threshold similarity to the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b. This mapping may involve comparing values of the localized acoustic response to values of the stored acoustic room responses and determining which of the stored acoustic room responses are similar to the localized acoustic response.

For example, in implementations where the acoustic responses are represented as vectors, the mapping may involve determining distances between the localized acoustic response vector and the stored acoustic response vectors. In such a scenario, the stored acoustic response vector having the smallest distance from the localized acoustic response vector of the room 201 b may be identified as satisfying the threshold similarity. In some examples, one or more values of the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b may be averaged and compared to corresponding averaged values of the stored acoustic responses of the database 250. In such a scenario, the stored acoustic response having averaged values closest to the averaged values of the localized acoustic response vector of the room 201 b may be identified as satisfying the threshold similarity. Other examples are possible as well.

As shown, the room 201 b depicted in FIG. 2C and the room 201 a depicted in FIG. 2A are similarly shaped and have similar layouts. Further, the playback device 210 b and the playback device 210 a are arranged in similar positions in their respective rooms. As such, when the localized room response determined by playback device 210 b for room 201 b is compared to the room responses stored in the database 250, the computing device 206 may determine that the localized room response determined by playback device 210 a for room 201 a has at least a threshold similarity to the localized room response determined by playback device 210 b for room 201 b.

In some examples, querying the database 250 involves querying only a portion of the database 250. For instance, as noted above, the database 250 may identify a type or configuration of playback device for which each record of the database 250 is generated. Playback devices of the same type or configuration may be more likely to have similar room responses and may be more likely to have compatible calibration settings. Accordingly, in some embodiments, when the playback device 210 b queries the database 250 for comparing the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b to the stored room responses of the database 250, the playback device 210 b might only compare the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b to stored room responses associated with playback devices of the same type or configuration as the playback device 210 b.

Once a stored acoustic room response of the database 250 is determined to be threshold similar to the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b, then the playback device 210 b identifies a set of calibration settings associated with the threshold similar stored acoustic room response. For instance, as shown in FIG. 2B, each stored acoustic room response is included as part of a record that also includes a set of calibration settings designed to account for the room response. As such, the playback device 210 b retrieves, or otherwise obtains from the database 250, the set of calibration settings that share a record with the threshold similar stored acoustic room response and applies the set of calibration settings to itself.

After applying the obtained calibration settings to itself, the playback device 210 b outputs, via its one or more transducers, second audio content using the applied calibration settings. Even though the applied calibration settings were determined for a different playback device calibrated in a different room, the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b is similar enough to the stored acoustic response that the second audio content is output in a manner that at least partially accounts for the acoustics of the room 201 b. For instance, with the applied calibration settings, the second audio content output by the playback device 210 b may have a frequency response, at one or more locations in the room 201 b, that is closer to a target frequency response than the first audio content.

In line with the discussion above, the playback device 210 b (or some other network device in communication with the playback device 210 b) may determine localized calibration settings based on the localized acoustic response. Accordingly, in some examples, before or while querying the database 250 for multi-location calibration settings, the playback device 210 b determines localized calibration settings based on the localized acoustic response of the room 201 b and applies the determined localized calibration settings to itself. And if the playback device 210 b successfully queries the database 250 for multi-location calibration settings by mapping the determined localized acoustic response of the room 201 b to a particular stored acoustic room response in the database 250 as described above, then the playback device 210 b transitions from applying the localized calibration settings to applying the multi-location calibration settings retrieved from the database 250.

FIG. 3A shows an example embodiment of a method 300 for establishing a database of calibration settings for playback devices, and FIG. 3B shows an example embodiment of a method 320 for calibrating a playback device using the database established according to method 300. Methods 300 and 320 can be implemented by any of the playback devices disclosed and/or described herein, or any other playback device now known or later developed.

Various embodiments of methods 300 and 320 include one or more operations, functions, and actions illustrated by blocks 302 through 312 and blocks 322 through 334. Although the blocks are illustrated in sequential order, these blocks may also be performed in parallel, and/or in a different order than the order disclosed and described herein. Also, the various blocks may be combined into fewer blocks, divided into additional blocks, and/or removed based upon a desired implementation.

In addition, for the methods 300 and 320 and for other processes and methods disclosed herein, the flowcharts show functionality and operation of one possible implementation of some embodiments. In this regard, each block may represent a module, a segment, or a portion of program code, which includes one or more instructions executable by one or more processors for implementing specific logical functions or steps in the process. The program code may be stored on any type of computer readable medium, for example, such as a storage device including a disk or hard drive. The computer readable medium may include non-transitory computer readable media, for example, such as tangible, non-transitory computer-readable media that stores data for short periods of time like register memory, processor cache, and Random Access Memory (RAM). The computer readable medium may also include non-transitory media, such as secondary or persistent long term storage, like read only memory (ROM), optical or magnetic disks, compact-disc read only memory (CD-ROM), for example. The computer readable media may also be any other volatile or non-volatile storage systems. The computer readable medium may be considered a computer readable storage medium, for example, or a tangible storage device. In addition, for the methods 300 and 320 and for other processes and methods disclosed herein, each block in FIGS. 3A and 3B may represent circuitry that is wired to perform the specific logical functions in the process.

Method 300 involves populating a database with a plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings, each set associated with a respective stored acoustic room response of a plurality of stored acoustic room responses. The plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings and the plurality of stored acoustic room responses are determined based on multiple media playback systems each performing a respective audio calibration process and a respective acoustic room response determination process represented by method 300.

Method 300 begins at block 302, which involves a respective playback device outputting respective audio content via one or more transducers (e.g., one or more speakers and/or speaker drivers) within a respective room. In line with the discussion above, the audio content may include content with frequencies substantially covering a renderable frequency range of the respective playback device or a frequency range audible to a human. In one case, the audio content is output using an audio signal created specifically for use when calibrating playback devices, such as the respective playback device. In another case, the audio content is an audio track that is a favorite of a user of the respective playback device, or a commonly played audio track by the respective playback device. Other examples are also possible.

At block 304, method 300 involves, while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone of a respective mobile device in communication with the respective playback device, first respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room while the respective mobile device is moving from a first physical location to a second physical location within the respective room.

At block 306, method 300 involves, while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone disposed in a housing of the respective playback device, second respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room.

At block 308, method 300 involves the respective playback device using the first respective audio data to determine a set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device.

At block 310, method 300 involves the respective playback device using the second respective audio data to determine an acoustic response of the respective room.

At block 312, method 300 involves storing in the database the determined set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device as well as the determined acoustic response of the respective room.

Turning now to FIG. 3B, method 320 involves a playback device using a database that is populated with a plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings and associated sets of stored acoustic room responses to calibrate the playback device so that the audio output by the playback device accounts for the acoustics of a room in which the playback device is located. In some examples, the database used in method 320 is populated by a plurality of playback devices performing method 300.

Method 320 begins at block 322, which involves a playback device outputting first audio content via one or more transducers (e.g., one or more speakers and/or speaker drivers) of the playback device. In some examples, the first audio content is the same audio content output by the respective playback device at block 302 in method 300. However, in other examples, the first audio content is different than the audio content output by the respective playback device at block 302 in method 300.

In some embodiments, the playback device outputting the first audio content involves gradually increasing a volume level of the playback device while outputting the first audio content. Further, in some embodiments, method 320 further involves, while outputting the first audio content, measuring a signal-to-noise ratio of the first audio content to environmental noise in the room in which the playback device is located, and, when the signal-to-noise ratio exceeds a threshold value for calibration, ceasing to increase the volume level of the playback device and continuing to output the first audio content at the current volume level.

At block 324, method 320 involves capturing, via a microphone of the playback device, audio data representing reflections of the first audio content within a room in which the playback device is located. As noted above, instead of being moved around the room, the microphone of the playback device is disposed in or on a housing of the playback device or is co-located in or on an NMD proximate to the playback device.

At block 326, method 320 involves, based on the captured audio data, determining an acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located. In some embodiments, a self-response of the playback device is pre-determined in an anechoic chamber, and determining the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located involves offsetting the self-response of the playback device from the captured audio data representing reflections of the first audio content. Further, in some embodiments, a self-response of the playback device's microphone is pre-determined in an anechoic chamber, and determining the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located involves offsetting the self-response of the microphone from the captured audio data representing reflections of the first audio content.

At block 328, method 320 involves establishing a connection with a database comprising a plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings, each set associated with a respective stored acoustic room response of a plurality of stored acoustic room responses.

In line with the discussion above, the plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings are determined, in some embodiments, based on multiple media playback systems each performing a respective audio calibration process comprising (i) outputting, via a respective playback device within a respective room that is different from the room in which the playback device is located, respective audio content, (ii) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone of a respective mobile device in communication with the respective playback device, first respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room while the respective mobile device is moving from a first physical location to a second physical location within the respective room, and (iii) based on the first respective audio data, determining a set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device.

In some embodiments, determining the set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device involves (i) determining audio characteristics of the respective room based on the first respective audio data and (ii) determining respective audio calibration settings for the respective playback device that offset the determined audio characteristics of the respective room.

Further, in some embodiments, the plurality of stored acoustic room responses are determined based on the multiple media playback systems each performing a respective acoustic room response determination process comprising (i) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone disposed in a housing of the respective playback device, second respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room, and (ii) based on the second respective audio data, determining an acoustic response of the respective room.

At block 330, method 320 involves querying the database for a stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located. In some embodiments, querying the database for the stored acoustic room response involves mapping the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located to a particular stored acoustic room response in the database that satisfies a threshold similarity to the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.

At block 332, method 320 involves, responsive to the query, applying to the playback device a particular set of stored audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.

At block 334, method 320 involves outputting, via the one or more transducers of the playback device, second audio content using the particular set of audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.

IV. Conclusion

The above discussions relating to playback devices, controller devices, playback zone configurations, and media content sources provide only some examples of operating environments within which functions and methods described below may be implemented. Other operating environments and configurations of media playback systems, playback devices, and network devices not explicitly described herein may also be applicable and suitable for implementation of the functions and methods.

The description above discloses, among other things, various example systems, methods, apparatus, and articles of manufacture including, among other components, firmware and/or software executed on hardware. It is understood that such examples are merely illustrative and should not be considered as limiting. For example, it is contemplated that any or all of the firmware, hardware, and/or software aspects or components can be embodied exclusively in hardware, exclusively in software, exclusively in firmware, or in any combination of hardware, software, and/or firmware. Accordingly, the examples provided are not the only ways) to implement such systems, methods, apparatus, and/or articles of manufacture.

Additionally, references herein to “embodiment” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment can be included in at least one example embodiment of an invention. The appearances of this phrase in various places in the specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment, nor are separate or alternative embodiments mutually exclusive of other embodiments. As such, the embodiments described herein, explicitly and implicitly understood by one skilled in the art, can be combined with other embodiments.

The specification is presented largely in terms of illustrative environments, systems, procedures, steps, logic blocks, processing, and other symbolic representations that directly or indirectly resemble the operations of data processing devices coupled to networks. These process descriptions and representations are typically used by those skilled in the art to most effectively convey the substance of their work to others skilled in the art. Numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the present disclosure. However, it is understood to those skilled in the art that certain embodiments of the present disclosure can be practiced without certain, specific details. In other instances, well known methods, procedures, components, and circuitry have not been described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring aspects of the embodiments. Accordingly, the scope of the present disclosure is defined by the appended claims rather than the foregoing description of embodiments.

When any of the appended claims are read to cover a purely software and/or firmware implementation, at least one of the elements in at least one example is hereby expressly defined to include a tangible, non-transitory medium such as a memory, DVD, CD, Blu-ray, and so on, storing the software and/or firmware.

Claims (20)

What is claimed is:
1. A playback device comprising:
a microphone;
a speaker;
one or more processors; and
tangible, non-transitory, computer-readable media storing instructions executable by the one or more processors to cause the playback device to perform operations comprising:
outputting, via the speaker, first audio content;
capturing, via the microphone, audio data representing reflections of the first audio content within a room in which the playback device is located;
based on the captured audio data, determining an acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located;
establishing a connection with a database comprising a plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings, each set associated with a respective stored acoustic room response of a plurality of stored acoustic room responses;
wherein the plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings are determined based on multiple media playback systems each performing a respective audio calibration process comprising (i) outputting, via a respective playback device within a respective room that is different from the room in which the playback device is located, respective audio content, (ii) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone of a respective mobile device in communication with the respective playback device, first respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room while the respective mobile device is moving from a first physical location to a second physical location within the respective room, and (iii) based on the first respective audio data, determining a set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device;
wherein the plurality of stored acoustic room responses are determined based on the multiple media playback systems each performing a respective acoustic room response determination process comprising (i) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone disposed in a housing of the respective playback device, second respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room, and (ii) based on the second respective audio data, determining an acoustic response of the respective room;
querying the database for a stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located;
responsive to the query, applying to the playback device a particular set of stored audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located; and
outputting, via the speaker, second audio content using the particular set of audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.
2. The playback device of claim 1, wherein determining the set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device comprises:
based on the first respective audio data, determining audio characteristics of the respective room; and
determining respective audio calibration settings for the respective playback device that offset the determined audio characteristics of the respective room.
3. The playback device of claim 1, wherein querying the database comprises:
mapping the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located to a particular stored acoustic room response in the database that satisfies a threshold similarity to the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.
4. The playback device of claim 1, wherein a self-response of the playback device is pre-determined in an anechoic chamber, and wherein determining the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located comprises offsetting the self-response of the playback device from the captured audio data representing reflections of the first audio content.
5. The playback device of claim 1, wherein a self-response of the microphone is pre-determined in an anechoic chamber, and wherein determining the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located comprises offsetting the self-response of the microphone from the captured audio data representing reflections of the first audio content.
6. The playback device of claim 1, wherein outputting, via the speaker, the first audio content comprises gradually increasing a volume level of the playback device while outputting the first audio content, and wherein the operations further comprise:
while outputting the first audio content, measuring a signal-to-noise ratio of the first audio content to environmental noise in the room in which the playback device is located; and
when the signal-to-noise ratio exceeds a threshold value for calibration, ceasing to increase the volume level of the playback device and continuing to output the first audio content at the current volume level.
7. The playback device of claim 1, wherein the first audio content is different from the respective audio content.
8. Tangible, non-transitory, computer-readable media storing instructions executable by one or more processors to cause a playback device to perform operations comprising:
outputting, via a speaker of the playback device, first audio content;
capturing, via a microphone of the playback device, audio data representing reflections of the first audio content within a room in which the playback device is located;
based on the captured audio data, determining an acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located;
establishing a connection with a database comprising a plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings, each set associated with a respective stored acoustic room response of a plurality of stored acoustic room responses;
wherein the plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings are determined based on multiple media playback systems each performing a respective audio calibration process comprising (i) outputting, via a respective playback device within a respective room that is different from the room in which the playback device is located, respective audio content, (ii) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone of a respective mobile device in communication with the respective playback device, first respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room while the respective mobile device is moving from a first physical location to a second physical location within the respective room, and (iii) based on the first respective audio data, determining a set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device;
wherein the plurality of stored acoustic room responses are determined based on the multiple media playback systems each performing a respective acoustic room response determination process comprising (i) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone disposed in a housing of the respective playback device, second respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room, and (ii) based on the second respective audio data, determining an acoustic response of the respective room;
querying the database for a stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located;
responsive to the query, applying to the playback device a particular set of stored audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located; and
outputting, via the speaker of the playback device, second audio content using the particular set of audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.
9. The tangible, non-transitory, computer-readable media of claim 8, wherein determining the set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device comprises:
based on the first respective audio data, determining audio characteristics of the respective room; and
determining respective audio calibration settings for the respective playback device that offset the determined audio characteristics of the respective room.
10. The tangible, non-transitory, computer-readable media of claim 8, wherein querying the database comprises:
mapping the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located to a particular stored acoustic room response in the database that satisfies a threshold similarity to the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.
11. The tangible, non-transitory, computer-readable media of claim 8, wherein a self-response of the playback device is pre-determined in an anechoic chamber, and wherein determining the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located comprises offsetting the self-response of the playback device from the captured audio data representing reflections of the first audio content.
12. The tangible, non-transitory, computer-readable media of claim 8, wherein a self-response of the microphone is pre-determined in an anechoic chamber, and wherein determining the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located comprises offsetting the self-response of the microphone from the captured audio data representing reflections of the first audio content.
13. The tangible, non-transitory, computer-readable media of claim 8, wherein outputting, via the speaker of the playback device, the first audio content comprises gradually increasing a volume level of the playback device while outputting the first audio content, and wherein the operations further comprise:
while outputting the first audio content, measuring a signal-to-noise ratio of the first audio content to environmental noise in the room in which the playback device is located; and
when the signal-to-noise ratio exceeds a threshold value for calibration, ceasing to increase the volume level of the playback device and continuing to output the first audio content at the current volume level.
14. The tangible, non-transitory, computer-readable media of claim 8, wherein the first audio content is different from the respective audio content.
15. A method comprising:
outputting, via a speaker of a playback device, first audio content;
capturing, via a microphone of the playback device, audio data representing reflections of the first audio content within a room in which the playback device is located;
based on the captured audio data, determining an acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located;
establishing a connection with a database comprising a plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings, each set associated with a respective stored acoustic room response of a plurality of stored acoustic room responses;
wherein the plurality of sets of stored audio calibration settings are determined based on multiple media playback systems each performing a respective audio calibration process comprising (i) outputting, via a respective playback device within a respective room that is different from the room in which the playback device is located, respective audio content, (ii) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone of a respective mobile device in communication with the respective playback device, first respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room while the respective mobile device is moving from a first physical location to a second physical location within the respective room, and (iii) based on the first respective audio data, determining a set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device;
wherein the plurality of stored acoustic room responses are determined based on the multiple media playback systems each performing a respective acoustic room response determination process comprising (i) while the respective playback device outputs the respective audio content, capturing, via a microphone disposed in a housing of the respective playback device, second respective audio data representing reflections of the respective audio content in the respective room, and (ii) based on the second respective audio data, determining an acoustic response of the respective room;
querying the database for a stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located;
responsive to the query, applying to the playback device a particular set of stored audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located; and
outputting, via the speaker of the playback device, second audio content using the particular set of audio calibration settings associated with the stored acoustic room response that corresponds to the determined acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.
16. The method of claim 15, wherein determining the set of audio calibration settings for the respective playback device comprises:
based on the first respective audio data, determining audio characteristics of the respective room; and
determining respective audio calibration settings for the respective playback device that offset the determined audio characteristics of the respective room.
17. The method of claim 15, wherein querying the database comprises:
mapping the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located to a particular stored acoustic room response in the database that satisfies a threshold similarity to the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located.
18. The method of claim 15, wherein a self-response of the playback device is pre-determined in an anechoic chamber, and wherein determining the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located comprises offsetting the self-response of the playback device from the captured audio data representing reflections of the first audio content.
19. The method of claim 15, wherein a self-response of the microphone is pre-determined in an anechoic chamber, and wherein determining the acoustic response of the room in which the playback device is located comprises offsetting the self-response of the microphone from the captured audio data representing reflections of the first audio content.
20. The method of claim 15, wherein outputting, via the speaker of the playback device, the first audio content comprises gradually increasing a volume level of the playback device while outputting the first audio content, and wherein the operations further comprise:
while outputting the first audio content, measuring a signal-to-noise ratio of the first audio content to environmental noise in the room in which the playback device is located; and
when the signal-to-noise ratio exceeds a threshold value for calibration, ceasing to increase the volume level of the playback device and continuing to output the first audio content at the current volume level.
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